The ASX just went negative for the year

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The Australian market fell hard on opening, slipping into negative territory for the year as investors ran from the fallout of the Greek debt crisis.

The ASX 200 entered the year at 5411 and hit 5,407.20 this morning, down 15.29 points or 0.28%. Bargain hunters then pushed stocks, and the index, back.

A short time ago, the market was trading just above yesterday’s close when the ASX 200 dropped 2.22% and lost $38.7 billion in market value.

The S&P500, the global benchmark stock index, slipped into negative territory for the calendar as well last night.

On the local market, Australia’s major banks dipped in nearly trade with the Commonwealth down 1% to $83.88.

The big miners, however, gained ground with BHP up 0.74% to $ 27.15 and Rio Tinto 0.26% to $ 53.43.

Gold stocks, which yesterday gained support as a traditional safe haven investment, slipped in early trade. Northern Star was down 1.72% to $ 2.29 and Ocean Gold 1.79% to $3.29.

Retailers were losing ground with Harvey Norman down 1.74% to $4.51 and JB Hi-Fi 0.41% to $19.45.

Kathmandu, now in play with a takeover offer coming soon from New Zealand retailer Briscoe, was up 22% to $1.53.

Energy stocks defied the falls with Woodside Petroleum up 0.79% to $34.26, Origin Energy 2.92% to $11.62 and Oil Search 0.56% to $7.20.

This chart shows the ASX performance over the past fiscal year, and for this calendar year. As you can see, it’s close to being flat for the financial year too.

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